IBM Launches One Channel Team
The company also is increasing opportunities for growth with cognitive computing and the opportunity to resell Watson Explorer, a combination of data exploration and content analytics capabilities, providing the bridge between cloud-based services and on premise proprietary information. By offering Watson Explorer, business partners can help their clients reduce unnecessary research time, and work faster. As part of the channel reorganization, IBM is delivering new incentives to make it easier for partners to grow profitably with IBM. “We are hyper-focused on making money,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive for Software & Systems at IBM in a keynote at the IBM PartnerWorld conference. When you make money, we make money.” In that regard, IBM is increasing compensation through the Partner Growth Incentive (PGI) for selling IBM Power Systems and IBM Storage. The new program offers a quarterly incentive that doubles if certain requirements are met, and a quarterly bonus for achieving specific skills and certifications. IBM also is simplifying certification requirements for selected Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, enabling business partners to earn incentives faster, with the new IBM SaaS Entry Product Group. The company also is improving rewards with the new Remarketer Margin Enhancer, which offers a 10 percent margin enhancement on incremental revenue for achieving revenue growth targets when reselling IBM Services; and offering a new Services Consumption Program to help business partners drive demand for service provider solutions. And IBM is expanding eligibility for the Solution Accelerator Incentive that allows business partners to earn an additional bonus on IBM defined solutions with the SAI Solution Bonus Reward.In addition, IBM is d Developing deeper knowledge and partner skills with a more intuitive platform for resources, including new educational modules around industry shifts, along with a broader roadmap of courses that lead to certifications, through the enhanced PartnerWorld University platform; Finally, IBM is delivering greater educational incentives through an improved Know Your IBM learning portal now with triple the earning potential to reward individual sales and technical staff when elevating skills around IBM's infrastructure portfolio, as well as strategic growth areas, such as cloud and analytics. Meanwhile, avid IBM watcher Enderle notes that while there are key advantages to IBM’s transformational channel move, there is also a down side. “The downside to doing this is you can lose customization for focused partners and the new group will have to be allowed the flexibility to assure that doesn’t happen in this instance. But for a firm who often has been the poster child for being difficult to work with this should be a God send for those that are the most annoyed and a sharp improvement for most everyone else.” For his part, Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, said “IBM's new One Channel Team effort is designed to achieve two goals. First, the company aims to align channel partners and communities around its own strategic efforts in cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security. That's obviously important strategically for IBM but the training and certification portions of the program should also help partners find commercial opportunities in these rapidly developing markets. "Second and perhaps more importantly, the One Channel Team program should help IBM's partners deal with and adjust to the fundamental changes affecting the IT industry and marketplaces. The fact is that trends like IT commoditization and consumerization are impacting the tech industry to the point that virtually no business or individual job is secure. The company believes that it has prepared itself to address current and future challenges, and designed One Channel Team to help its partners do likewise. That shows admirable foresight by IBM, as well as a firm understanding of the critical connections between its partners' and its own success.”
Moreover, IBM is working to help business partner deepen their skill sets. IBM is expanding its Business Transformation Initiative (BTI) with more than 300 new workshops aimed at helping qualifying business partners through a strategic consulting engagement, which can help improve profitability and performance in growth areas as well as accelerate their transformation.